Forensic Mental Health Counseling

A two-year, full-time, 60 credit-hour program, the Master of Arts in Forensic Mental Health Counseling is designed for students who wish to provide mental health services in forensic or legal settings. Rooted in clinical practice, this program provides students with more than 200 hours of practicum work and 600 hours of internship experience. The Program also provides the appropriate foundation for future doctoral study in a Psy.D. program.​


    On Campus


    Fall admission only; semester & summer schedule

    Credits Required


    Time Commitment

    Two years, full-time


    $1,091 per credit



    Ways to Save

    Scholarships and grants available

    Apply By

    February 1, 2023 for priority consideration

    March 1, 2023 extended deadline

    Internship, Leadership Roles Prepare Graduate Student for Clinical Therapist Position

    Kelice Agosto, a 2023 graduate of the M.A. Forensic Mental Health Counseling program, has secured a position as a clinical therapist at Massachusetts Treatment Center in Bridgewater, Mass. Agosto was the Graduate Student Commencement Speaker at the University Commencement held May 19, 2023.   

    Learn more about Kelice

    The M.A. Forensic Mental Health Counseling program at RWU is one of less than 10 such programs in the United States. Students complete necessary coursework to satisfy state licensure requirements to become independent mental health clinicians, while learning how to effectively serve and support specialized populations connected to the judicial system including incarcerated individuals, court-ordered mentally ill patients, victims, police, and more.

    Learn more about some of the work FMHC students are doing in the official podcast of RWU Graduate Programs, RWUGradCast:

    Episode 1 - Exploring Forensic Mental Health Counseling with Rachel Candelaria

    Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on Google PodcastsListen on Spotify

      Hear about the program on YouTube:



    The Master of Arts in Forensic Mental Health Counseling seeks to:

    • Prepare graduate students for careers as master's level mental health counselors in forensic settings
    • Prepare graduate students for further academic training at the doctoral level (Psy.D.) in applied, clinical, experimental, or legal psychology
    • Provide students with training in the areas of clinical assessment and intervention
    • Provide students with internship/practicum experiences that will promote and develop professional skills in clinical forensic psychology

    The Forensic Mental Health Counseling program is designed to provide the necessary coursework and professional hours to fulfill state licensure requirements for students to become independent mental health clinicians (commonly with an LMHC, LCMHC, LPC, or similar designation). The Program allows for approved course substitutions and additional practicum hours as necessary to allow students to fulfill specific state licensure requirements.

    Graduates in Forensic Mental Health Counseling are able to:

    • Expertly administer and interpret the WAIS-IV and WISC-IV and their protocols as well as the MMPI-2 and other personality inventories
    • Conduct and write up initial clinical interviews, Mental Status Examinations and compile complete client social history
    • Provide and initial case conceptualization with case write-up and proposed treatment plan
    • Operate effectively in a group design form of treatment
    • Provide psycho-educational services in areas of expertise

    Graduates of the program typically seek employment as mental health counselors or pursue study at the doctoral level, most commonly in Psy.D. programs.  

    Employers of our Graduates
    Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital (IL)MA Department of Children and Families
    Arbour-Fuller Hospital (MA)Massachusetts Treatment Center
    Central New York Psychiatric CenterMetropolitan Police Department of DC
    Danville Police Department (CT)Michigan Attorney General's Office - Criminal Division
    Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health (PA)Newport County Community Mental Health Center (RI)
    Joseph J. Peters Institute (PA)Rhode Island Department of Corrections
    Justice Resource Institute (MA)Riverbend Community Mental Health, Inc. (NH)
    Lifespan (RI)South Bay Mental Health Center (MA)
    Doctoral Programs
    Alliant International University (Psy.D.)Regent University (Psy.D.)
    Antioch University (Psy.D.)Spaulding University (Psy.D.)
    LaSalle University (Psy.D.)University of Denver (Psy.D.)
    Nova Southeastern University (Psy.D.)University of Indianapolis (Psy.D.)
    Pacific University (Psy.D.)William James College (Psy.D.)


    Open Houses

    Open Houses are scheduled on the Bristol Campus every June and November with virtual Open Houses available in January and August. Join us to learn more about your program, the admission process, and financial aid at these informative events with faculty and Graduate Admission staff.

    Graduate Open House
    Saturday, June 10, 2023 | 10:00am - 1:00pm ET
    Join us to meet your program director and learn about the Forensic Mental Health Counseling program, hear about admissions and financial aid, meet current students, and more. 

    Register to Attend

    Virtual Information Sessions

    Short on time or just want to learn more about us from the comfort of your home, school, or office? Join us for a Virtual Information Session.

    Please visit for the most current information on Open Houses and Virtual Sessions.

    In the fall of 2020, we provided a series of expert lectures spanning a number of topics in forensic and legal psychology:

    • Topics in Legal Psychology: How Jurors Think About the Death Penalty: A Cognitive and Affective Paradigm and Investigative Eyewitness Procedures: Safeguards for Law Enforcement to Reduce Erroneous Convictions Due to Mistaken Identification
    • A Qualitative Analysis of Adults Who Committed Murder as an Adolescent: Implications for Post-Miller Hearings
    • Hegemonic Masculinity: Impact on Sexual Aggression and Intervention Strategies

    Access the Recordings

    The Practicum and Internship Experience

    Clinical licensure requirements in most states require two semesters of practicum and two semesters of internship. Students will work with the graduate practicum placement coordinator to secure a clinical practicum by the spring of their first year. Students will complete Clinical Practicum I (Psych 591) during the spring semester of their first year along with a 60 hour (about 4 hours/week) clinical practicum. Clinical Practicum II (Psych 592) will be completed during the summer between their first and second years and will require a total of 120 hours (about 8 hours/week). Students will then complete Clinical Internship (Psych 598) during the fall and spring semesters of their second year along with a 300 hour (about 20 hours/week) clinical placement. Students receive clinical supervision on-site from a supervisor employed at the training placement who has entered into a training agreement with RWU. Additionally, students have weekly small group  supervision with a licensed member of the psychology faculty at RWU. 

    Our students have successfully trained in the following practicum sites:

    • Rhode Island Training School at Cranston
    • Treatment Center for Sexually Dangerous Persons at Bridgewater
    • Juvenile Court Clinics in Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island
    • Gateway Healthcare
    • Rhode Island State Psychiatric Hospital- Competency Restoration Unit
    • Rhode Island Department of Corrections
    • North American Family Institute (NAFI-RI)
    • Rhode Island Family Court
    • The Providence Center
    • Massachusetts Correctional Institute through Wellpath
    • BH-Link Crisis Response Center
    • Tides Family Services
    • Communities for People

    Application Requirements

    Applicants should have an undergraduate degree in Psychology, Criminal Justice, or related field, and must have satisfactorily completed undergraduate courses in Statistics and Research Methods. To apply, students must submit the following items to the Office of Graduate Admission:

    1. Completed application form accompanied by the $50 application fee
    2. Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate coursework
    3. Letter of Intent (two double-spaced pages maximum) describing your interest in Forensic Mental Health Counseling, career goals and how you can positively contribute to the graduate program at Roger Williams University
    4. Three (3) letters of recommendation attesting to your potential to succeed in graduate school. All three letters should come from academic sources (professors) who can speak to your performance in the classroom. One letter may come from an internship supervisor or employer, if appropriate. You should select recommenders who know you well, can speak about your character and work ethic, and can attest to your ability to handle graduate level coursework. Recommendation letters should not be submitted from personal friends or family members. 
    5. If your first language is not English, an official report of TOEFL or IELTS results

    Application Deadlines (Fall admission only):

    February 1, 2023 - Priority Scholarship Consideration Deadline
    March 1, 2023 - General Application Deadline (Extended from February 15th)

    International applicants should also read through this page for additional requirements.

    Where appropriate, documents should be submitted online through the applicant portal or via email to Any official documents that must be mailed (i.e. transcripts) should be sent directly to:

    Office of Graduate Admission
    1 Old Ferry Rd.
    Bristol, RI 02809

    Have questions about the application process? Read the application instructions from the Office of Graduate Admission.

    Lyndsey Sheldon

    A Buckeye Becomes a Hawk: Going Small for Grad School

    Lyndsey Sheldon, RWU Class of 2023
    Forensic Mental Health Counseling

    Lyndsey Sheldon grew up in a small town in Ohio where everybody knew everybody. After undergraduate life as a Buckeye, she knew it was time to find a tight-knit experience for grad school. “When I knew it was time to get my masters and really buckle down, I knew a small community with interactive professors is what I needed,” she said.

    Read full story